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Forums » Misc » Letter from Chinese Laborer Pleading for Help Found in Halloween Decorations
Page28 December 2012 at 10:33pmPosts: 814 (0 today)Status: offline
Letter from Chinese Laborer Pleading for Help Found in Halloween Decorations
Julie Keith was unpacking some of last year's Halloween decorations when she stumbled upon an upsetting letter wedged into the packaging.
Tucked in between two novelty headstones that she had purchased at Kmart, she found what appeared to be a letter from the Chinese laborer, who had made the decoration, pleading for help.
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The letter reads: "Sir, if you occasionally buy this product, please kindly resend this letter to the World Human Right Organization. Thousands people here who are under the persicution of the Chinese Communist Party Government will thank and remember you forever."
"I was so frustrated that this letter had been sitting in storage for over a year, that this person had written this plea for help and nothing had come of it." Julie Keith told Yahoo! Shine. "Then I was shocked. This person had probably risked their life to get this letter in this package."
The letter describes the conditions at the factory: "People who work here have to work 15 hours a day without Saturday, Sunday break and any holidays. Otherwise, they will suffer torturement, beat and rude remark. Nearly no payment (10 yuan/1 month)." That translates to about $1.61 a month.
[The letter was found inside this packaging] The letter was found inside this packagingKeith, a mom who works at the Goodwill in Portland, Oregon, did some research into the letter. "I looked up this labor camp on the internet. Some horrific images popped up, and there were also testimonials about people who had lived through this camp. It was just awful."
Horrified, Keith took to Facebook. She posted an image of the letter to ask friends for advice. One responded with a contact at Amnesty International. Keith made several attempts to alert them about the letter, but the organization never responded.
With no response from various human rights organizations, Keith took her story to The Oregonian. "The reporter, Rachel Stark, got through to Human Rights Watch, but I had no luck."
This is not the first time a letter like this has turned up. Just this week, another plea was found written in Chinese on a toilet seat and posted on Reddit. Commenters on the website have questioned the letters' authenticity.
Though the letter lists the address of the specific camp, officials at Human Rights Watch were unable to verify the authenticity of the letter. However, Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch, told The Oregonian that the description was consistent with their research. "I think it is fair to say the conditions described in the letter certainly conform to what we know about conditions in re-education through labor camps."
The concern over the conditions laborers must endure in China and other countries first came to the public eye in the 1980s with the use of sweatshops to make Nike sneakers. Since then, according to an article recently published in The New York Times, Nike "has convened public meetings of labor, human rights, environmental and business leaders to discuss how to improve overseas factories."
Tech companies, like Apple and Hewlett Packard, are being made to be accountable for their labor practices. After receiving a great deal of criticism, Apple is now making public statements that they are aware of the harsh conditions in China and are taking steps to improve them.
As for Julie Keith, she had a general idea about the conditions in Chinese labor camps, but this letter has been a dramatic eye-opener into the stark reality of the issue. "I was aware of labor camps. I knew they had factories but I had no idea of the gravity of the situation. I didn't realize how bad it could be for people."
Finding the letter has made Keith more aware of the origin of many products sold in the United States. "As I was doing my Christmas shopping this year, I checked every label. It's virtually impossible to avoid purchasing things made in China as over 90 percent of our goods are made there. But if I saw 'made in China,' this year I asked myself, 'do I really need this?'"
Page22 January at 11:34pmPosts: 814 (0 today)Status: offline
Finally, they are fighting back - a person needs their toilet time
Chinese workers revolt over 2-minute toilet breaks
BEIJING (AP) — Hundreds of Chinese factory workers angry about strictly timed bathroom breaks and fines for starting work late held their Japanese and Chinese managers hostage for a day and a half before police broke up the strike.
About 1,000 workers at Shanghai Shinmei Electric Company held the 10 Japanese nationals and eight Chinese managers inside the factory in Shanghai starting Friday morning until 11.50 p.m. Saturday, said a statement from the parent company, Shinmei Electric Co., released Monday. It said the managers were released uninjured after 300 police officers were called to the factory.
A security guard at the Shanghai plant said Tuesday that workers had gone on strike to protest the company's issuing of new work rules, including time limits on bathroom breaks and fines for being late.
"The workers demanded the scrapping of the ridiculously strict requirements stipulating that workers only have two minutes to go to the toilet and workers will be fined 50 yuan ($ if they are late once and fired if they are late twice," said the security guard, surnamed Feng. "The managers were later freed when police intervened and when they agreed to reconsider the rules."
The plant makes electromagnetic coils and other electronic products. It was closed Tuesday, said a man who answered at the plant but refused to identify himself. He said no workers were on strike and staff would return to work on Wednesday.
Strikes have become commonplace in China, as factories operating in highly competitive markets try to get more productivity from their labor force and workers connected by mobile phones and the Internet become more aware of their rights.
Shinmei Electric's statement didn't say specifically what the workers were protesting, but said management reforms and labor policies were believed to be a cause. It said talks were under way with workers at the plant and that police were questioning staff.
A man who refused to give his name from the press office of the Shanghai police bureau said he had no information about the incident and referred calls to the Shanghai government press office, where calls rang unanswered.